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Discussion Starter #1
I know in my cage I can tell when its time for brakes by the feel of the brake pedal or when I start hearing the squealing noise (which by then it's usually too late to save the rotors). But how do you know with a bike? To me the brake pads are so thin even when brand spanking new that it's going to be hard to visually check them. How do you all know when its time for a brake job? Do you feel a difference in the brake lever? Or do you change them out at a certain mileage to be on the safe side. Brakes are the most important safety feature on a bike or car, don't want to neglect them. Not going to attempt to do the work myself, as I just figured out how to do disc brakes on a car. I certainly don't have the patience to do drums. I do believe my bikes have the drums on the back. Do the rotors and drums get turned like in cars? Or are they just replaced?
 

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cheap brakes vs expensive ones

Cheap breaks don't have a tattletale on them,
next time you go to get brakes, make sure they have a tattletale on them.

it will look like a little metal hook, on one end, of the pads. what they do, is rub on the rotor and squeal real loud when the pad gets about 3/4 worn down. If they don't make them for your bike, ask if there is a kit you can purchase.

You should check your brakes after every ride, to make sure the pads haven't fallen off, modern glues are perty good, but its always a good idea to check anyway.
 

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I just check mine visually. It is important to change the pads before they wear all the way down.

Flushing the fluid is also important. Periodically check to make sure the fluid is still clear.

If the rotors get gouged from not changing the pads soon enough, they will likely need to be replaced. Motorcycle rotors are usually thinner than car rotors and do not have much extra material to turn off.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think I'm going to change the pads on the Savage before putting it away. I looked at the pads on my S40, and the pads on the savage are alot thinner. The rotors still feel smooth. Cant feel any bumps or high ridges. I think I'm going to have them flush the fluid also, don't know if the previous owner ever did it or not, so piece of mind is better. The S40 has 2500 miles on her, so I'm thinking her pads are probably ok, but I will have them check the brakes when she goes in for her next oil change.

My mechanic Joe (does mostly auto, not bike) has shown me pads where the ceramic left on them are thinner than a piece of paper. Why on earth would someone let their pads get that thin? Don't they like to stop?
 

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The specs on my brake pads are to replace when they are just a couple mm thick. About the thickness of a credit card.

The manual will let you know when they should be swapped out. You just have to keep an eye on them when they start to get close.

You can visually check the brake fluid. It should be pretty clear. I flush mine when it starts to turn amber.
 

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Some bikes with rear drum brakes at least many Honda bikes have a wear indicator arrow that indicate excessive wear. in other words,you can see if they have worn from the outside without tearing down for a visual inspection. the indicator is an arrow,and when the arrows line up, it is time to replace.

When you have ancient bikes like mine, it is still a good idea to give them a visual and clean and lube them at tire changes. I am not really sure if they can age out before they wear out, but maybe someone with more experience will comment on this.

A good service manual goes step by step on brake service,so not that difficult to do it yourself. A blanket beneath the work area to catch any Jesus Clips is recommended to keep those parts from bouncing away. When you bleed the brakes after a change,I use the banjo bolts to accomplish most of the bleed and then finish up at the bleed screws and the bleed is easy peasy.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
find a new rotor that still be turned....they make them so thin now that you can't turn them anymore (and yes, I'm talking about car and truck rotors)
With my car I dont even bother seeing if the rotors can be turned. They are barely up to spec brand new out of the box. Thats the way they make them now. They aint making money if they can be turned. One good hit on the brakes where you heat them up real good they warp like crazy. Im not a big fan of putting brakes on without doing the rotors. A warped rotor will eat new shoes for breakfast.
 

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With my car I dont even bother seeing if the rotors can be turned. They are barely up to spec brand new out of the box. Thats the way they make them now. They aint making money if they can be turned. One good hit on the brakes where you heat them up real good they warp like crazy. Im not a big fan of putting brakes on without doing the rotors. A warped rotor will eat new shoes for breakfast.
Most auto rotors are fairly cheap though, bike rotors are generally pretty expensive. About the cheapest I can find rotors for my bike is $190 per rotor. if they aren't grooved or warped, I just generally run a non directional surface disc over them to break the glaze and then just make sure I burnish them in fully.
 

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I found on one of my bike purchases that thickness isn't the only indicator you can go by. When I bought my '81 XV920, I checked out the pads before the first test ride, but the bike struggled to stop from 30mph within a city block. A fluid flush didn't cure it. Pads lose their grip as they age. I can only assume these pads were original, or very very old, and hard as rocks. New pads brought back the stopping power. Don't wait for obvious wear to make a change. Keep an eye on performance as well.
 

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I found on one of my bike purchases that thickness isn't the only indicator you can go by. When I bought my '81 XV920, I checked out the pads before the first test ride, but the bike struggled to stop from 30mph within a city block. A fluid flush didn't cure it. Pads lose their grip as they age. I can only assume these pads were original, or very very old, and hard as rocks. New pads brought back the stopping power. Don't wait for obvious wear to make a change. Keep an eye on performance as well.
Usually the cause is cleaners, grime and road debris that get impregnated in the pads. Sometimes, just busting the glaze off of them and cleaning them up helps, but the best bet is to change them as you have.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Age has alot to do with it. My dads subaru, he hardly drives it. It was making a grinding noise so bad I just had to steal his car to change the brakes on it. I couldn't convince him that the brakes where bad because he could still see pad left. But it's been over 5 years since he had them checked out. Rotor was shot, you could have shaved with the sucker. But there was still meat on the pads, which is odd...There was sooooo much rust it made it nearly impossible to get the bolts off the caliper. Not to mention the fact you need to be houdini to get one of the bolts off. Finally, after a few hours of swearing, we got the brakes done. Test ride, grind still remained. What the fa la lllaaa laaaa!!! Don't even freaking tell me I gotta take it all apart again and mess with the ebrake shoes.....if I do, I'm ripping them out and buying him a wheel chuck.....turned out to be the dust cover was so rusted out it was hitting the back side of the rotor....goodbye dust covers.....
 

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We don't see that kind of rust down here. I've lost my behind on a job a couple of times because the car was from up North. The price automatically goes up most places if they see a northern tag.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It's so much worse now that they've gone to the new fangled stuff instead of salt and sand. Brake lines have been the number one mechanical fix this summer. It's absolutely insane. All because our state is tooo freaking cheap to put in the rust inhibitor with the mixture. We as citizens need to find a way to get the state to put the rust inhibitor in cause it's costing us a hell of alot more money to replace brake lines and such.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Your state is too cheap too huh? Its a chemical they can add to the mixture they use on the roads that will prevent cars from rusting out from the mixture. Some states are using it, but I guess it's pretty costly.
 
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